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Are relationships that have ended still sabotaging your happiness?

Are relationships that have ended still sabotaging your happiness?

In recent conversations, I’ve been very aware of 1) deep human longing to share love with another and 2) lack of understanding that relational problems have their source in inner energetic patterns.

On the surface may be behaviours that cause separation rather than connection. Underneath self protective behaviours are the energetic residue of past traumatic experiences.

The truth is that when sabotaging patterns remain unresolved, they will repeat with another person, albeit in a slightly different way.

Let’s consider three situations, that are quite common, in my experience.

1- A woman who is still so hurt by a betrayal that led to divorce that she doesn’t think she can trust anyone again. The marriage ended 10 years ago and she hasn’t dated since.

2-  A woman who remains in a long term relationship that appears to others to be good. But the difficult dynamics, not seen on social occasions by others, are destroying her soul and her sanity.

3- A woman who is in a relationship that seems more healthy and promising than those in the past. As she has relaxed into the relationship and found trust in her partner, she is surprised to discover something in herself that limits a deepening into what she intuits to be her full sexual potential.

I wish the same for my clients as I do for myself – to be a fully expressed human being. This often requires courage to move beyond a comfort zone, followed by dedication to a transformational process.

Transformation is more easily accomplished with a specific type of support that includes: confidence in your ability to grow, holding at your growing edge and the objective vision to guide you forward.

Here are the indications that coaching might help you.

  • if you know you are caught defensive/self protective strategies that have become habitual
  • if you can’t move forward because of the lack of completion of a previous relationship
  • you keep attracting people and situations that deplete your energy

Difficult dynamics make sense when considered from an energetic point of view. A solution awaits – Relational Mastery.

 

What women aged over 35 think of power

What women aged over 35 think of power

A very interesting piece of research on women and power was published by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Melinda Marshall of the Center for Talent Innovation in 2015.

They surveyed professional women, between the ages of 35 and 50, in the US, the UK and Germany to find out what they wanted.

It was discovered that they want they same things that professional men want.

  • to feel in control of their career
  • to have their work recognised
  • to find meaning and purpose through their work
  • to be able to empower others
  • to have financial security

The difference that was found between women and men is this. Men in this age group sustain their interest in the importance of power and seek it. Women lose their interest in power, as they get older.

The report continued with recommendations for employers on how to encourage and retain talented women. They quote the following data from another US study.

Women without Power

Ability to flourish    18%

Ability to excel       70%

Feeling purpose      26%

Feeling empowered 14%

Contrast this with –

Women with Power

Ability to flourish    58%

Ability to excel       87%

Feeling purpose      63%

Feeling empowered 61%

Here the word power means ‘powerful position’.

I think the figures are on the low side even for women with the power of position, excepting the opportunity to excel. Those figures mean that 42% of women in powerful positions do not feel that they are flourishing. 47% do not find meaning and purpose through their work. 49% neither feel empowered nor feel they have the opportunity to empower others.

No wonder, in the UK, women leaders are the fastest growing segment of self employed entrepreneurs (reported by Jean Martin in the Guardian, May 2015).

The biggest drop out of women from the corporate world comes at the mid career point.

While it might be easy to assume that this is for work/life balance while raising children, this may not be the full story.

Apparently, a whopping 38% of American women, 39% of British women and 41% of German women aged 35-50 do not have children.

Do you think this could mean that as many women drop out due to disillusionment, as due to wanting better work/life balance?

In my experience:

People opt out when they believe their current circumstances won’t change.

People opt out when they are fed up with the feeling of hitting their head against a brick wall.

People opt out when the environment that they are in is not conducive to their growth or in alignment with their values.

In the 1980’s (yes I was in the workforce then and can speak from personal experience) women’s empowerment was all about breaking the ‘glass ceiling’. And some women succeeded.

Is it possible that the new wave of women leaders are not as interested in proving themselves within male dominated environments?

Just maybe they don’t lose their interest in power. Maybe they lose their interest in the forms of power that prevail!

If so, by opting out they are saying no to something that doesn’t work for them and yes to something that could.

It makes no sense that women would lose their interest in power as they get older, given that wisdom traditions the world over consider the menopausal transition as being a passage to power for women.

Is it possible that women that ‘drop out’ are really ‘dropping’ into tune with their innate feminine power? 

It interests me that women may be opting out in their peri-menopausal and menopausal years driven unconsciously by biological impulses.

If you are one of those women, I can help you to reframe the whole topic of power – in order to step into your most powerful and significant expression yet.

The difference between female, feminine and Feminine

The difference between female, feminine and Feminine

I’ve been dialoguing about the explosion of interest in Feminine leadership with the wise women that I know.

We agree that women are awakening and claiming power – spiritual, sexual, financial and heartfelt, hard earned wisdom.

But is female leadership the same as Feminine leadership?

I personally think there is a distinction to be made.

As interest in this topic increases more people use the terms ‘feminine leadership’ and ‘feminine power’ in their blogs and business offerings. The distinction between female, relating to gender, and Feminine, which is non gender specific, becomes important.

A respected leader, whether male or female, is likely to be able to harness both Masculine and Feminine qualities as appropriate to a situation.

Having said that, male and female bodies and brains are wired differently. It does make sense that women, by and large, will have greater access to certain qualities and men to others. But, women must take more than their gender into leadership positions.

Sadly, we are most familiar with stories of abuse of power in leadership. Female leaders are not immune.

My personal view is that a call for Feminine leadership is a response to abuses of power. For me, Feminine leadership implies a change to the patriarchal ‘power over’ paradigm.

Feminine leadership might be framed around an honouring of Feminine values, which include the honouring of women, the arts, the earth and all forms of life on it.

The importance of inner work for leaders is a newly emerging theme. The approach, which might emerge, to the benefit of both women and men, is neither patriarchal ego/male oriented nor matriarchal ego/female oriented.

Initiations to the Feminine are not new – neither for women nor for men.

Joseph Campbell identified ‘The Meeting with the Goddess’ as a key transformational stage on his model of the human journey, in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, published in 1949.

Often, Hero’s Journey is interpreted as being a man’s journey. But, there is another interpretation that deserves consideration. The Hero is a metaphorical term. When the Hero meets the goddess, he is changed in some way. He surrenders, stops fighting and starts to serve and support her.

There is deep longing in both women and men to meet the Feminine.

Food for thought:

  1. ‘The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.’ Mohadesa Najumi
  2.  The Feminine is the transformational aspect of Consciousness, according to tantric wisdom.
  3. It was at the Vancouver Peace Summit, in 2009, that the Dalai Lama made the statement that many women’s initiatives now quote. He gave the opinion that ‘the world will be saved by the Western women.’

To take up this call for action and be at the leading edge of transformation is a huge responsibility that will require consciousness, integrity and preparation.

The meaning of life vs. the purpose of life

The meaning of life vs. the purpose of life

‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it.’

 

You may have seen this quote about the meaning of life on social media. Most often it is attributed to Picasso, although I understand the source is debatable.

But the sentiment is simple. And as a guide for life, it is profound (in my opinion).

For most of us, this gift is revealed and honed over the course of life.

The process of revelation can be likened to a dance between the questing and the giving.

As Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with A Thousand Faces puts it, the call is to become a Master of the Two Worlds.

As I see it this journey of mastery is actually about both mystery (the feminine aspect of this accomplishment)  and mastery (the masculine aspect.) The mystery prompts the questing. Mastery prompts the giving.

Mastering the two worlds requires attention to polarities.

Too much emphasis on mystery and you may frustrate your purpose. Too much emphasis on mastery and you may lose touch with life’s meaning.

 

‘Me too’ and the transformation of patriarchy

‘Me too’ and the transformation of patriarchy

The line has been drawn.

The fire has been lit and is now raging.

The women’s march. The ‘me too’ movement. President Trump. Harvey Weinstein. Michael Fallon and others.

Sexual manipulation by those in positions of power is unacceptable.

 The first step in any transformation is to bring what is hidden, denied or avoided into the open.
 
Thanks to social media, secrecy has become difficult.
 
A behaviour that has been normalized in the past is no longer acceptable.
 
That much is clear.
 
We also know that the repression of ‘carnal desires’ doesn’t work.  Sanctions don’t work. 
 
There is one solution that is genuinely transformative. 
 
That solution amounts to a transformation of the patriarchal paradigm in which such behaviours have been normalised.
 
The world seems to be struggling with what I would call right relationship between Masculine and Feminine right now.

In the current patriarchal paradigm, this is often made out to be a gender issue. But, patriarchy limits the potential of men just as much as it does women.

Patriarchy has done its best to de-power the Feminine. Men have an inner feminine aspect. The growth and development of that aspect has clearly been stunted and distorted in those that manipulate, objectify and marginalise women.

We’ve been presented with an authoritive, abusive, ‘power over’ framework.

Men, as well as women, have been denied knowledge of the true roles of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine. 

Some of you will know that I have an ongoing and deep interest in the practices of the Indian traditions of Kashmir Shaivism and Sri Vidya.
 
What I love most about these traditions is that the metaphor and art are illustrations of right relationship between Masculine and Feminine.
 
Yes, much of the imagery is erotic. But it’s not meant to be interpreted through the lens of carnal desire. 
 
The Feminine Herself is the transformative force. She is inter-dependent with the Divine Masculine.

She is the expression of His power! He is the necessary containing and supportive force to Her expression. Her power lacks direction without this Masculine function.

Elevated from carnal knowledge to divine wisdom these images speak of the potential of every man and woman.

The Masculine and Feminine are energetic principles. When the Feminine is suppressed, the Divine Masculine is inaccessible too.
  

The ‘me too’ movement is bringing what has been hidden out into the open. This is just the first step in a healing process that if for the benefit of both sexes.

Status and success vs. significance

Status and success vs. significance

Recently, Ive been contemplating status and success vs significance.

That bird in the photo… I doubt that he or she contemplates success. But a bird carries significance. It has an important role to play in the balance of nature.

And it plays its role well. A bird is always true to its bird nature.

But, humans are different.

Add cultural conditioning and most of us are out of sync with our true nature and natural energy balance.

Success and status permeate our cultural conditioning.

Have you noticed the different language used for success vs. significance? People chase or attain success. They seek significance or make a significant contribution.

Early in life, success and significance get confused. Chasing success often hides an unconscious search for significance.

The mistaken belief is that success will bring validation from others – and therefore status. This belief is a poor substitute for the genuine feeling and knowing of significance.

It is not uncommon to hear stories of successful but unhappy and unfulfilled people. Unconscious searching for significance, via success, has an enormous trap.

When there is a high need for external validation, a person is more likely to sacrifice their personal values and integrity in order to maintain the status quo. In other words they end up being valued for the wrong things. I confess to falling into this trap – more than once.

What may begin in childhood, in order to stay safe and to belong, has a nasty habit of continuing into adulthood, with disastrous consequences. Toxic relationships. Burnout. Poor choices that undermine self respect.

But, personal crises can serve as an initiation to the true journey, hinted at in myth, stories and parables through the ages. Mapped out for us all by Joseph Campbell in the 20th century. He called it the Hero’s Journey.

We are unwittingly captivated by the potential of this journey, which is invisibly wired into us. Many of our most loved films capitalise on this by basing their plots on the Hero’s Journey model. (Applies for heroine’s too.)

As a transformational coach, I use this model with my clients, supporting them on their lifetime adventure to realise their true nature, from which can flower more effective expression of their unique gifts through work and in relationships..

You could say that the success of this journey is the discovery of True Significance.

True Significance does not come from external sources and especially, it does not come from self sacrifice. It comes from deep knowing and being faithful to a sense of purpose. And that journey is lifelong.

Becoming a stabilising force in the midst of chaos

Becoming a stabilising force in the midst of chaos

Autumn is such a potent season for those who are interested in personal and collective awakening and transformation.

This year, the gentle lessons we receive from observing the changing autumn leaves, are juxtaposed by evidence of the devastating power of nature in many parts of the world. The world has been shaking – literally – as hurricanes cause devastation in the Caribbean and the United States, an earthquake causes further deaths and damage in Mexico City and Asia experiences its worst monsoon flooding in years. In the southern hemisphere, there are spring bush fires in Australia and a volcano threatening eruption in Bali.

No wonder some are speaking of an apocalypse. (In fact, some say that will happen next week. Google it!)

The apocalypse theory is based on biblical information. Meanwhile, ancient Vedic teachings speak of a long period of destruction, hardship and decay of morality known as the Kali Yuga. The bad news is that the Earth is just 5000 years into this long cycle, said to last a few hundred thousand years!

But, there is a silver lining to this cloud…..

The Kali Yuga is considered to be the easiest age in which to awaken. Why? The transformational energies that hold the power of dissolution also hold the power to upgrade consciousness. It is said that a personal transformation that would take many lifetimes in more settled ages can be achieved in just a few decades in the Kali Yuga.

Here is the motivation to maintain commitment to whatever type of transformational work you do. And, here is the inspiration to step onto ‘the path’ if you have not yet developed a transformational practice.

The metaphor of the calm ‘eye’ at the centre of the hurricane prompts consideration of how we might become a stabilising force in the midst of chaos.

Applying this metaphor to ‘human play’ on the world stage, we have plenty of examples of ‘hurricane forces’. Terrorist attacks. Surprise election results that change the political landscape. Volatile leaders. Technically bankrupt countries. Greedy businesses that destroy the environment and avoid taxes.

The world is our mirror. In the face of devastating tragedy and suffering it is easy to feel impotent. Yes, we can send money to the causes that stir our hearts. We can turn our work towards the changes we would most like to see. But, for the broadest transformational impact, individually and collectively, inner work must accompany outer work.

I would define a transformational practitioner as someone who has learned to value life challenges because of the opportunity they bring to further personal growth and possible collective evolution.

Practitioners are needed. Scientific research confirms what many practitioners have experienced. Intentional prayer and meditation creates an energetic impact. Groups of practitioners magnify that impact.

Sustaining the calm ‘eye’ beyond a yoga mat or meditation cushion is achieved as a result of transforming inner emotional reactivity, including parts of the personality that take on the role of terrorist, dictator, destroyer or protector in the psyche. These are just some of the parts that might show up strongly when you feel challenged by life.

What better time to start, resume or create a new intent for practice and personal development than during autumn, as the leaves turn and we begin the season of ‘new year’ celebrations in the dark half of the year.

Personal ‘eclipses’ help you to stay on purpose

Personal ‘eclipses’ help you to stay on purpose

The American eclipse was big news last month.  My topic this month is what it means to experience a personal eclipse. 

A personal eclipse is a sudden change of direction, perhaps seemingly forced upon us or perhaps following an inner change of heart. The path we were on ‘gets eclipsed’ as a result.

In my experience, this feeling of something being eclipsed, while disorienting, is usually an indication that something in life needs to be reconsidered.

What you may not know about me is that 3 years ago I trained to be a wedding and funeral celebrant.

By chance, the first 2 funerals I conducted were for people of my own age. Thankfully, also by chance, so was the first wedding!

Of course, this made me think about my own life and what was important to me. And I realised, that while I enjoyed being a Celebrant and being of service to others in marking a rite of passage, I did not want to make such work into a full time occupation. It didn’t give me the same feeling of being ‘on purpose’ that I was lucky to experience when working as a coach and consultant earlier in my career.

I realised that I was making choices based on what made sense, given age and skills set. But, my deepest interests were hidden under limiting beliefs, such as ‘I’m too old’ or ‘it’s too late’ or ‘I haven’t got the resources’ for that type of business offering again.

Limiting thoughts and feelings are much easier to address once acknowledged. Since I’ve retrained as an Awakening Coach, and shifted the personal obstacles in the process, I feel ‘on purpose’ again.

For most people that feeling of being ‘on purpose’ makes a huge difference and is needed at every age and life stage.

If you have been experiencing a personal eclipse (which may be associated with the celestial one) ask yourself what might be needed for you to feel on purpose. And if you are in the middle of a life transition, as I was, it’s ok to consider a few options. But, please look carefully at your limiting points of view before deciding to believe them!

Have men and women forgotten how to hunt?

Have men and women forgotten how to hunt?

Have men and women forgotten how to hunt? Is the secret to maintaining passion, sustaining a sense of purpose and using personal power effectively linked to keeping innate hunting instincts honed? 

I’ve been thinking about this recently, reviewing some of my own experiences and observing others around me. This contemplation began while watching the reality tv show Love Island! (my vice this last month)

Love Island wasn’t exactly a ‘back to the wild’ show. Far from that, a group of young, attractive singles are housed in a luxury villa in Majorca. The basic aim is for them to couple up over the 7 weeks of the show. There are challenges and twists, people being voted off and new islanders arriving by surprise etc.

I became fascinated by the journey of transformation that some of the contestants experienced and the clever way the whole show was constructed. The contestants may have been in a luxury ‘fishbowl’, but the behaviours were ‘back to the wild.’ The hunting process was clear.

There was the initial search as both girls and boys preened, showed off, flirted and claimed the person most attractive to them. Then there were the dances of power – arguments, games, alliances and resistance. And there was surrender when some let their guard down and bared their vulnerable hearts. Of course, that had to happen before the relationships became believable to the voting public. (My vice did not include voting.)

It seems to me that these 3 stages –  hunt (or quest), resistance, surrender – are essential for remaining in the flow of life and love, irrespective of whether the hunt is for a partner or for the renewal of passion for work or for enlightenment or for a wild animal to feed a tribe. The hunt infuses a sense of purpose. Some resistance is normal (to the process or from the ‘hunted’). But, re-newal, transformation and being ‘fed’ only happens following surrender.

Modern life does not help us to keep the hunting instinct sharp. I suggest that hunting skills get dulled by online shopping, take away meals and other conveniences. It’s hard for most people to stay in touch with the power of their wild inner core.

If we lead a defensive life, constantly in resistance, we are not honouring the cycle. We may experience stagnancy, repeated false starts and ensuing despair.

All of my mailing list will be too old to sign up for the next season of Love Island. Your best option to keep your hunting skills honed could be through your commitment to personal and spiritual growth!

Awakening is one thing that is not made easy for us in western culture. It’s not even valued! Maybe we should be thankful for that. This is one area of our lives where effort must be made, where we must develop the courage to turn against the status quo and the inner strength to face our personal set of resistances.

A person that engages fully in the type of personal journey that yields results must honour the 3 steps I’ve mentioned. A personal challenge may initiate a hunt for the right teacher, healer, coach or therapist. Certainly discernment must be exercised. And then we must watch for the inner resistances that impede progress.

There’s no passion in resistance, no passion in trying to control outcomes and no passion in not stepping forward in the first place.

I had a recent personal experience with my current coach who did not let me off the hook with a challenge to remain in the flow of my passion with regard to my work.

Initially I felt misunderstood and therefore resistant to his suggestions.

I did some parts work. (Parts work is a structured process and also offered an as an aspect of Awakening Coaching.) I dialogued with my ‘passion part’ and also with a ‘heartbreak part.’ There was nothing wrong with the passion part, which has plenty of ideas! But the heartbreak part said, ‘every time you allow passion free rein, heartbreak is the result. I’m protecting you.’

The unconscious limiting belief was thus revealed! And that had to happen before the brake that my coach was pointing to could be removed.

The impediment was inside me and not with the coach or the programme. There was something that I hadn’t seen that a good coach put his finger on. It’s always a shock when another reveals that which you have unconsciously been trying to protect. But, surrender and vulnerability are the keys to a breakthrough.

How about you? What I point to affects most of us, particularly in mid life during when duty and responsibility demands often take precedence over the wild longings of the heart and soul.

Apparently, the Love Island final had the highest viewing of any ITV2 show ever. I think I know why.

To begin the re-claim of passion, purpose and power, please reply to this mail. Let’s have a chat to discuss how my coaching can help with your unconscious limitations.

I’m off for a week of ‘back to nature’ camping and communing with a group of women in the wilds of Wales. My wild ‘hunting skills’ will be extra sharp when back! 🙂

Eros as a Feminine power

I have a considerable amount of passion for this topic. Eros, defined as the desire for union, is a powerful force, albeit one that is often misunderstood and disrespected.

In secular life, this desire is interpreted narrowly and directed towards other human beings. Of course, this is important. But without a broader understanding of eros, we miss opportunities to experience the gift of life in all of its erotic splendour.

Some of our best loved poets speak of the desire for union with the Divine, or with nature, in erotic terms. Rumi would be one that is often quoted. I’ve loved a Deepak Chopra publication of his love poems. Rumi speaks of the erotic face of God and not of a human lover.

‘You arouse me with your touch
although I can’t see your hands.
You have kissed me with tenderness
although I haven’t seen your lips.
You are hidden from me

But it is you who keeps me alive’

In some traditions this erotic aspect is considered to be feminine.

This month I’ve been reading the biography of the man who built the Devipuram temple in South India. The temple faced controversy for its use of erotic icons. The Goddess and the Guru by Michael M. Boden is recently published and a very fascinating read.

The book tells of how one of India’s leading nuclear physicists left his job, following a spiritual awakening in his 40’s, and devoted the rest of his life to a Feminine tantric (non religious) spiritual path and social causes.

The separation of the secular world from the divine has led many to believe that it is necessary to separate oneself from family, from a lover, from income generating work and from other material responsibilities if one wants to live a spiritual life.

What drew me to tantra, as a mother and householder, was the promise of relevance to my life and concerns. My quest started around 15 years ago, after reading a book called Passionate Enlightenment by Miranda Shaw. Further fuel was added to the fire when I discovered Daniel Odier’s book, Tantric Quest, a few years later.

Sensationalism of tantra, in both India and the west, has led to many misunderstandings of the erotic images and sexual metaphor.

Although I never met Guruji Amritandanda/Dr. Sastry, who died in 2015, I have been a student of one of his senior students for 9 years. I have some understanding, therefore, of this man’s incredible gift to the world. I appreciate teachers, such as Guruji and the qigong masters that I follow, for their deep knowledge of science as well as spirit. They have brought teachings out of the mystical closet and given clear explanation of their relevance to modern life.

Amritananda/Dr. Sastry, in particular, took a stand for the Feminine. ‘Patriarchal religion, untempered by matriarchal wisdom, he asserted, is the root cause of the world’s strife and misery today, and balance must be restored.’

He wasn’t afraid to restore eros to her rightful place as a Feminine transformational power. The book details his courageous stand against prejudice, ignorance and prudery.

Here’s an excerpt from a notice that he posted outside the Devipuram temple.

‘This unique temple is built to tell you that you are goddesses and gods. If you like, you can be like them too. You are free here. Nobody stops you. All the powers shown here are dormant in you subconsciously. Your sadhana (practice) consists in bringing these powers out to use them for loving yourself, improving yourself and all those around you. You gain nothing by leering or laughing at the goddesses here. You gain everything by understanding your own nature as reflected in them. You are beautiful and lovable, just as you are. You are erotic. Nothing wrong with that! You can create your identity and destiny. You are not powerless. You don’t have to be what others tell you to be. We are with you in empowering you to be yourself.”